Space Stuff! It Is Finished. For Now.


Source: Lucasfilm

Sunday morning, I wrote the final scene. The science fiction project checked in at 98,562 words. It also took four months longer to write than I anticipated. So now what?

The running joke for this thread is in the tags: “My Dick is writing a novel,” meaning the Dick Bachman to my Stephen King. So when I start talking about this once again, it will be as “Dick.” First, I need to get Dick published somewhere with short stories, articles, possibly even reviews.

draftMore importantly, I have to tackle the rewrite. I basically invented a new universe from scratch. Oh, I laid some groundwork, but there were points in the story where I thought, “Is that too primitive for 300-500 years in the future?” And I know some things are inconsistent. Also, I have two main protagonists, one male and one female. The female is a brain, though there are plenty of female ass kickers in this tale. It’s a character that doesn’t yield well to someone who’s written crime fiction for the past decade and a half. So she’s a bit more passive than I like.

The other problem stems from the Act II doldrums that dragged this thing out an extra four months. I’m sure I was on the right track (sometimes literally, since much of it takes place on a commandeered maglev train) when I re-outlined in late fall, but I also know that part has the most opportunity for major structural changes.

Peer reviewerAnd finally, how do I want to publish this? Will I go traditional? That was the original plan, and we’ll decide on that in the rewrite. Maybe go indie? Science fiction is a better genre for indie writers than crime fiction. A series’ fan base tends to be more fiercely loyal than those of crime fiction writers, and much easier to grow. People love a really good shared mythology.

One idea, however, is to serialize it. The story has twin plot lines that really don’t merge until late in the game. This worked successfully for John Scalzi, who is doing a second “season” of The Human Division. It’s a format tailor made for ebooks and independent writers, and Tor, Scalzi’s publisher, is behind this idea.

But for now, I need to go back through one last time just to read the book as a coherent whole. Then I need to stick it in a drawer and forget it exists. I’m pretty strict about things like that. When I’m not writing or revising a book, I don’t want to discuss it or know it exists. This frustrates people I ask to help with edits, but it’s a necessary step, and really, every writer should do this.

I’ll take out the novel again this summer. Then Dick can tell you how I’m spending my summer vacation.